America has entered the “coal cost crossover” where existing coal is more expensive than cleaner alternatives. Today, local wind and solar could replace 74 percent of the U.S. coal fleet at an immediate savings to customers. By 2025, this number grows to 86 percent of the coal fleet.
This research paper explores energy transition impacts on competitive power markets, finding every U.S. organized power market except ERCOT is oversupplied due to seven oversupply drivers. Oversupply slows decarbonization, but market operators and load serving entities have options to responsibly manage the power system through this transition. The full version of this paper was published in the March 2019 issue of Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports, and is available upon request. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40518-019-00123-6
At least 36 GW of uneconomic coal-fired capacity is forecast to be retired by 2024. These policy briefs highlight how to help utilities balance stakeholder interests, facilitate the financial transition away from uneconomic coal, and help states embrace clean energy.
When electric utilities transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, they must address unrecovered investment balances. Depreciation schedules are often accelerated to line up with earlier-than-planned retirement dates, which can increase short term consumer rates. This brief reviews how utilities can refinance undepreciated balances on plants in service to lessen the consumer rate burden, primarily through replacing some portion of equity with corporate debt.
Depreciation accounting recognizes asset value reduction over time. For coal plants, depreciation determines the value remaining when plants retire early. Depreciation is an important tool for transitioning away from older assets, such as coal plants, to cheaper resources, such as wind and solar. This brief reviews how depreciation schedules affect utility earnings and ratepayer costs, as well as other stakeholder interests.
The grid will require a substantial transformation as more renewable sources come online. Some critics argue technological, financial, and institutional barriers will prevent significant decarbonization of the power sector, but four common clean energy myths are easily debunked by facts and real-world experiences showing the feasibility of a low-carbon energy future.
This study finds the total national technical potential of rooftop solar PV equates to 39 percent of total national electric sector sales, nearly doubling previous estimates. Because the results are estimates of technical potential, they do not consider what would be required to integrate all the potential PV-generated energy into the power system. In practice, the integration of a significant quantity of rooftop PV into the national portfolio of generation capacity would require a flexible grid, supporting infrastructure, and a suite of enabling technologies.
This data analysis finds that over America’s clean energy sector now employs more than 2.5 million people. The majority of these jobs come from energy efficiency (1.9 million), and a significant portion come from solar (300,000) and wind (77,000). The solar industry in particular has experienced a 20 percent job growth rate for three years in a row, and is estimated to add 220,000 new jobs in coming years due to the Investment Tax Credit’s extension alone.
This policy toolbox is designed to improve distributed solar PV access for low-income customers. It identifies four principle barriers to low-income participation—cost, physical barriers, housing conditions, and market forces—and identifies dozens of solutions that address these barriers. Examples include on-bill financing, community/shared solar, green banks, and federal best practice networks. The report includes case studies from California, New York, Colorado, D.C., and Massachusetts, which have put these principles and recommendations into successful action.
Advanced Energy Economy’s new encyclopedia of advanced energy technologies surveys more than 50 advanced energy technologies that work to make the grid more reliable, cheap, and clean. This includes “technologies for electricity generation, electricity delivery and management, building efficiency, water efficiency, transportation, and fuel production and delivery.”